The story of the year happened again on Wednesday night when the Cardinals dropped the Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on a walkoff home run by Chris Taylor. The Cardinals season ends and the Dodgers move on to face their division foes, the San Francisco Giants.
The Cardinals scored one run in the first inning from Tommy Edman manufacturing a run, and scoring on a wild pitch. That was it for the Cardinals for the rest of the night scoring wise. The offense worked counts all night and put runners in position but went 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals offense was able to chase Max Scherzer from the game early, after Scherzer was pulled after only going 4.1 innings. The Dodgers bullpen was lights out from there and held the Cardinals scoreless for the rest of the game.
The Dodgers tied the game in the fourth inning on a solo shot home run by Justin Turner. It was a pitcher’s duel all night as the bullpens battled but eventually in the ninth inning, Chris Taylor ended it on a hanging slider from Alex Reyes.
A sight we have seen too many times this season, the Cardinals bullpen, and Alex Reyes losing games. There are many areas that need to be filled come the offseason and one is in the bullpen.
Evaluating the Season
While it has been a rough season for Reyes, there is no one more frustrated than Alex. Reyes is a great pitcher, but needs to work on his control going into next season.
Looking back on the year, to be in this position, no one thought the Cardinals would be in the postseason a month ago. They did what they always do, and they fight and scratch into a spot and in contention.
This was a team that had World Series caliber all over it, but they ran into a 106 win team in a win or go home game. To be a 90 win team for how bad they struggled was amazing and the 17 game win streak is something to forever remember.
Offseason Moves and Questions
For the offseason there are many areas to discuss about where the Cardinals go. As mentioned in a previous article, the Cardinals will have money coming off the books and will have money to spend.
Where will they spend this money? That is the question to be asked.
The starting rotation needs work. Obviously, having Jack Flaherty injured for most of the season did not help by any means and he will be the ace going into next season. The addition of Dakota Hudson back in the rotation would be a large addition as well.
From there, a big gray area is left. While he has been great in the past, Miles Mikolas leaves a lot of question marks on health and performance. Having a healthy Mikolas in the rotation would add more depth and star power.
The Cardinals will make a pitch to Max Scherzer to sign with the team, but who knows how well that will work. Scherzer wants a 3-year contract and there are questions if the Cardinals would be willing to give him that.
Adding depth to the bullpen will help but there is one other spot that leaves questions. That position is the shortstop position.
Paul DeJong is not a free agent until 2023 and with the rising emergence of Edmundo Sosa, that brings a position battle. Sosa is young and has a lot to learn but does not quite bring the star power.
Trevor Story will highlight this offseason as a free agent, and would Trevor consider the possibility of teaming up again with his friend Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals offense has the capabilities of being top-tier and help this franchise win games, but at the end of the day, it needs to be more consistent.
Ending the season, the Cardinals continue another year with about .500 baseball play and another postseason made. While disappointing, this team is going to be good for years to come and they provide many bright spots to look forward to.